The advantage of getting a purebred cat is you know what your getting. Over the years as a bengal community and with the help of science we have learned what we need to test for to avoid these issues. Resposible breeders will do everything they can to provide a healthy bengal kitten to you.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a breeder:
- When asked..Will the breeder present you with HCM screens from within the last year or two for the parents?
- Are the kitten’s parents or granparent's PK-DEF and PRA-B screened? Will they show you the reports?
- Does the breeder offer a health guarantee against genetic defects? If so how long is the guarantee?
- Has the kitten had its first and second shots administered? – has the kitten had a health check by a licensed veterinarian?
- Is the kitten well socialized? Socialized kittens do not hiss at you and are not shy. (kittens that hide are un-socialized).
- Is the kitten Virus Free (herpes) and conjunctivitis free eyes and clear nose? If the kitten is sneezing, this is a problem.
- Is the Kitten or are the kitten’s parents FeLV/FIV tested (feline Leukemia)?
- Is the kitten Free of external parasites (fleas, ticks or ear mites)?
If a breeder doesn't do these tests you risk getting a cat which will die early or at the very least go blind. If the breeder doesn't want to answer your questions, you should find another breeder. We always say you get what you pay for, price should not be your only consideration. A "cheep bengal" usually means you could end up spending thousands in veterinarian care and testing.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM is a common disease in cats in general. A cat can be born with it or it can develop later on in life after they are an adult. It affects the heart causing the walls and ventricles of the heart become much too thick, or hypertrophied. It could lead to death. Currently there is no genetic test available for testing so annual screening via echocardiogram should be done for all breeding cats expecially bengal cats at least every other year to monitor its growth.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA-B is a genetic condition that affects the eyes. The disease causes the destruction of the cells that register light (photoreceptors) in the back of the eye (the retina) which means the cat will go blind. It begins around 7 weeks of age and slowly progresses until the cat has very compromised vision by approximately 2 years of age. However, blindness develops at different rates in different cats. So it could take longer for some cats. There is good news!!! We have a DNA test for this. As long as the parents are tested and bred accordingly your kitten will be just fine. A cat that is 100% normal will have the test result of N/N, A cat that will carry for it will have a result of N/K (as long as they are bred to a N/N the kittens will be 100% okay). A cat that has PRA-B will have the result of K/K and will be blind.
- Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency or PK-Def is an inherited hemolytic anemia caused by insufficient activity of this regulatory enzyme which results in instability and loss of red blood cells. Hemolytic anemia is where red blood cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before the completion of a normal lifespan. There is good news!!! We have a DNA test for this. As long as the parents are tested and bred accordingly your kitten will be just fine. A cat that is 100% normal will have the test result of N/N, A cat that will carry for it will have a result of N/K (as long as they are bred to a N/N the kittens will be 100% okay).
- Polycystic Kidney Disease or PKD is a well documented abnormality in domestic cats. Cystic kidneys can sporadically occur in any population of cats and leads to renal failure. PKD is NOT prominent in the bengal breed but we do like to screen our breeding cats via ultrasound to be sure they do not show any signs of PKD.